Recipe: red lentil butternut soup (instant pot)

It’s early December, and we are in the midst of Vata season. In Ayurveda, the seasons are characterized by the doshas – vata, pitta and Kapha. Late fall and early winter are vata season – and have the qualities of dry, cold and light (think of fallen leaves blowing in the wind). Have you noticed the weather is dry and cold? Have your skin and sinuses felt drier? Have you felt more ungrounded than usual lately? That is how the energy of vata manifests in your mind and body.

To balance the dry, cold and ungrounded energy of vata – we use opposites. One way to do this is through the foods we choose to eat. Soups are very balancing to vata as they are moist and warm. Adding heavier ingredients like butternut squash, and healthy fats and proteins, like lentils and coconut milk, are grounding as they balance the lightness of vata.

Don’t be put off my the long ingredient list for this recipe. It comes together quickly, then goes right into your instant pot. You can make the recipe easier by using frozen, precut and peeled butternut squash. You could also choose to not blend your soup after it cooks in the instant pot.

Gather:
2 cups chopped & peeled butternut squash
1 cup red lentils – soaked overnight
1 small onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1” of fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garam masala 
Pinch of black pepper
1 tsp mineral salt
1 quart of broth (vegetable or bone broth)
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
Optional: plain coconut yogurt as topping.

Make:
Set the instant pot on the saute function. Melt the ghee in the pot, then add the onions and celery. Saute, stirring, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and other spices and saute for 2 minutes. Add the butternut squash and red lentils, stir and cook for 1 minute. Turn off saute function.

Add the broth and salt and put the lid on the instant pot. Set on manual for 30 minutes (on mine I can also use the “soup” button). Sit back and let the instant pot do its thing. After its completed cooking, let it natural release for 5 minutes. Let out the rest of the pressure and add the coconut milk, stir. To make your soup a puree consistency, let it cool a bit then blend in batches. Or, use an immersion blender and blend it right in the instant pot (my preferred way). Optional, top with a dollop of coconut yogurt. Enjoy!

#holistichealth #holisticliving #holistic #holisticnutrition #naturalhealth #foodismedicine #ancienthealth #ayurveda #naturalliving #eatrealfood #herbalmedicine #ayurvedicmedicine #yogalife #yogi #mindbody #recipe #ayurvedicrecipe # ayurvedic soup #healthydigestion #soup #butternutsquashsoup #autumn #vata #vatadosha #instantpot #instantpotrecipe


Ayurveda Tips for Holiday Meals

The holidays are quickly approaching! And that means we are most likely indulging in eating large heavy meals that we wouldn’t do in everyday life. Below are a few simple tips that you can do to help your mind and body handle eating all of these rich and decadent foods! 

Also, I want to be clear that I feel any food made by a friend and family member with love is completely appropriate for you to be eating on these rare occasions! These are just some ideas that will help you digest these meals better, resulting in better digestion, which will make you feel better overall and enjoy your time with family and friends.

  • Get some movement in! Get some exercise in the morning, and take a short walk after eating your large meal.
  • Drink herbal tea throughout the day and especially 30 minutes before you eat. Some good choices are CCF tea, fresh ginger tea and chamomile tea.
  • Take digestive bitters before your meal. (I like this one)
  • Favor foods that are cooked with digestive spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger – like pumpkin pie.
  • Also favor foods that are warm and well cooked – no cold salads!
  • Go easy on the cheese. Cheese can be hard for you to digest, especially if included in the same meal as another protein, like turkey.
  • If you can, avoid grazing on food all day long. Eat light meals before your big meal, like soup. Try to resist the urge to go crazy on the appetizers. 
  • If you are partaking in alcohol, stay hydrated! An Ayurvedic hydration drink is warm water with some fresh lime and a pinch of mineral salt.

#ayurveda #holisticnutrition #holistichealth #foodismedicine #eatrealfood #mindbody #holidaymeal #vata #vatadosha #autumn #ancienthealth 


Autumn Lifestyle practice :: Self Oil Massage

It’s November, and we are deep into the fall season. According to Ayurveda, this time of year we feel the effects of ether and air elements. Ether (or space) lacks structure and form. Ether is the changeable quality we see in nature at this time of year. Air element also reigns at this time of year – think of air as movement. Think of the movement of the air with a cool breeze and leaves blowing in the wind. 

The qualities these elements express are dry, cold, light and mobile – its a changeable energy that is very ungrounded. These qualities describe the energy of vata dosha in Ayurveda, as fall and early winter are the vata times of year. You might notice feelings of vata imbalance at this time of year like dry skin, cold hands and feet, and feeling erratic in your mind. 

How you care for yourself during this season will directly reflect on your body’s health through the winter. In Ayurveda, we use opposite qualities to heal any imbalances. At this time of year you want to bring in the qualities of warm, moistening, heavy and grounding. One of the easiest ways to manifest these qualities is to practice an Ayurvedic self-oil massage called abhyanga.

Abhyanga is a simple form of self-massage with oil. The word for oil in Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda, is sneha. An additional way to translate sneha is love or affection. Abhyanga is a great way to nourish your body and show it some love! There are many benefits to doing a self-oil massage every day – it balances and calms your nervous system (and mind), nourishes and moisturizes your skin, stimulates your immune system, detoxifies by activating your lymphatic system, lubricates your joints, and gives your skin a radiant glow – to name just a few!

How to practice Abhyanga self-oil massage:

  • Pick your oil of choice. Generally, sesame oil is therapeutic for vata skin, coconut oil for pitta skin, and sunflower oil for kapha skin. If you don’t know your doshic makeup, try sesame oil in the fall and winter, coconut oil in the summer, sunflower oil in the spring. Mahanarayan oil is a great oil to use if you have aching joints and muscle pain. Source cold-pressed, organic oils. I purchase my oils from Banyan Botanicals.
  • Warm your oil. I either do this by rubbing small amounts of oil together in my hands to warm before applying, or by putting the oil in a small glass jar that I let sit in a skinful of hot water for a few minutes. (It’s recommended to start with 1/4 cup of oil, and as you do this more you’ll learn how much quantity you really need).
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry. I recommend that you stand on an old towel.
  • Start at the soles of your feet and work towards the crown of your head (or opposite – crown to feet). Gently start to massage the oil onto your skin – everywhere. On your arms and legs, use long stroking motion, on your joints circular motion. On the belly, massage the oil clockwise if you are looking down to stimulate digestion. If you are washing your hair that day, massage the crown of your head.
  • If you have the time, leave the oil on for 15-20 minutes. If you don’t have that amount of time, leave the oil on at least 5 minutes. I usually use this time to continue to massage my joints and any places on my body that I experience tension like my low back and neck.
  • Rub off any excess oil with your old towel and take a shower. The steam of the shower causes the pores to open, allowing the oil to penetrate deeper into the skin. You do not need to soap off the oil.
  • Abhyanga can be practiced either in the morning, or in the evening – whenever you typically take a shower.

Try practicing abhyanga daily and see how you feel. It is such a nourishing and healing gift you can give to yourself everyday. Enjoy!

#holistichealth #holisticliving #holistic #holisticnutrition #naturalhealth #foodismedicine #ancienthealth #ayurveda #naturalliving #eatrealfood #herbalmedicine #ayurvedicmedicine #yogalife #yogi #mindbody #abhyanga #selfcare #vata #vatadosha #autumn


Recipe: Instant Pot Kitchari

Kitchari is a comforting, nourishing meal commonly used in Ayurveda. It’s used as a healing food – you could say it’s the chicken soup of Ayurveda. It’s base is basmati rice and split mung beans, with spices to aid digestion. It’s commonly eaten during an Ayurvedic cleanse at the turning of the fall and spring seasons. It kindles your digestive fire, improving your digestive strength. I commonly eat it for lunch, as it’s simple to make, it’s got a good mix of protein, fats and carbs, and its yummy! My favorite way to make kitchari is using the instant pot – it’s so easy this way!

Gather:
1 cup white basmati rice
1/2 cups split mung beans (also called yellow mung dal)
1 tablespoon kitchari spice mix*
2 tablespoons ghee
5-6 cups water
1-2 cups chopped vegetables of your choice
Salt to taste
A few pinches of fresh ground black pepper

Make:
Optional: Soak rice and mung beans overnight, then drain and rinse before cooking.

Add the split mung beans  and spice mix to your instant pot along with 2 cups of water. Cook on manual setting for 20 minutes. Let it release naturally after cooking for 5-10 minutes. (I often do this step in the morning, then set the IP on a timer to cook a few hours later if I’m making this for lunch).

Add to the instant pot all of the other ingredients. The amount of water varies by how thick you want your kitchari. I usually add 3 additional cups of water here for a thicker stew-like kitchari. If you like soupier kitchari, add the additional cup of water. Vegetables I like using are carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans, beets and cauliflower. Cook on the rice setting (just hit the rice button on the Instant Pot). Enjoy!

Optional: top with fresh cilantro like I did in this photo

*Kitchari Spice mix (makes 3 tbsp):
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cardamom

 #holistichealth #holisticliving #holistic #holisticnutrition #naturalhealth #foodismedicine #ancienthealth #ayurveda #naturalliving #eatrealfood #herbalmedicine #ayurvedicmedicine #yogalife #yogi #mindbody #recipe #ayurvedicrecipe #ayurvediccleanse #kitcharirecipe #healthydigestion #fallcleanse #healthydigestion #kitchari #instantpotkitchari #instantpot recipe


Fall Ayurveda Cleanse

Join me for a seasonal Ayurvedic cleanse this fall! Ayurvedic cleanses provide a physical, mental and emotional reset. Detoxing has been practiced at seasonal transitions for thousands of years, and plays an important role in your overall well-being.

The Ayurvedic approach doesn’t involve juice, spicy lemonade, fasting and depriving yourself of solid food. Instead, it focuses on cooking and eating warm, nourishing and comforting foods and teas that encourage a gentle release of toxins built-up over time. It also includes self-care practices that promote both cleansing and rejuvenation.  You’ll notice a renewed sense of balance, inner-peace and calmness as you move through the cleanse.

This guided cleanse includes:

  • Four live group calls over Zoom for support and instructions
  • Handouts for each phase of the cleanse (preparation, active cleanse, rejuvenation)
  • Recipes (one per each phase)
  • Option to schedule an individual Ayurvedic consultation with me to discuss your specific health and wellness goals at a discounted rate.

The cleanse will last 25 days and starts September 12, 2020. The Zoom call schedule is below. We are following the cleanse from the book “The 25 Day Ayurveda Cleanse” by Kerry Harling. It is recommended that you also purchase that book for more recipes, day by day cleanse schedule and shopping lists.

Investment: $40
*Also recommended that you purchase “The 25 Day Ayurveda Cleanse” by Kerry Harling

Zoom Dates (all times MST):
Introduction, Precleanse, and Preparation: 9/9/20 (Wed) 7 pm
Active Cleanse Preparation: 9/16/20 (Wed) 7 pm
Active Cleanse Check-in: 9/25 (Fri) 10 am
Post Cleanse: 9/30/20 (Wed) 7 pm
(give yourself an hour for each call, though they may run shorter

Cleanse Dates: September 12 – October 6th. Note that you are not actively cleansing the entire length of this time frame – this includes a pre and post cleanse.

Additional Questions: Contact me directly at healthcoachcorib@gmail.com.

To register: E-mail me at healthcoachcorib@gmail.com letting me know you’re in! Then submit your $40 investment (see options below). Optional, but highly recommended, purchase Kerry Harling’s book “The 25 Day Ayurveda Cleanse.”

1. Send your $40 investment via Paypal. Use the following e-mail address: coridesigns@gmail.com

2. Send your $40 investment via Venmo. This is my Venmo account name: @Corinne-Bernardo

3. Send your $40 investment via Cash App. This is my name on Cash app: $coribernardo


Recipe: Amaranth Porridge

I prefer to eat a cooked breakfast, as it’s easier to digest in the morning. Most of the year I turn to oatmeal for my warm breakfast. As we move into late spring and summer, oatmeal begins to feel too heavy. That’s when I turn to amaranth porridge. 

Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that has a nutty taste. It’s a lighter grain, but is still satisfying. It’s high in iron, calcium and magnesium. In Ayurveda, amaranth is good to balance kapha, as it’s dry and light. It also balances Pitta, as it’s cooling and sweet, as it has an affinity for soothing the eyes. Vata types can balance the dryness of amaranth by adding some oils to their porridge, like coconut oil or ghee.

Gather:
1/2 cup amaranth
1 cup of water
A few pinches of cinnamon
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tsp coconut butter or ghee
Optional: top with oat milk and serve with fresh fruit

Make:
Bring the water, amaranth and cinnamon to a boil. Turn heat down so the porridge is simmering, and partially cover. Stir occasionally. Cook about 20 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed.

Stir in the flax seed and hemp seeds. Top with coconut oil or ghee. I also like to pour some oat milk over top to make it more porridgy and creamy. Optional: serve with fruit of your choice.

*Makes one serving
**Gluten-free, vegan option

 #holistichealth #holisticliving #holistic #holisticnutrition #naturalhealth #foodismedicine #ancienthealth #ayurveda #naturalliving #eatrealfood #herbalmedicine #ayurvedicmedicine #yogalife #yogi #mindbody #recipe #ayurvedicrecipe # ayurvedic breakfast #breakfastrecipe #healthydigestion #amaranth #amaranthporridge


Why Yoga is Awesome

Have you been thinking of trying yoga, or recommitting to a yoga practice? Here are some reasons to roll out your mat and give it a try! Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together body and mind. As it’s practiced today, yoga incorporates breath work, poses and meditation that have many benefits to your mental and physical health. Most people of all ages and fitness levels can do the most basic yoga poses and stretches. 

Relieve Stress and Anxiety

The practice of yoga eases stress and promotes calm and relaxation. This is what led me to the practice of yoga almost 20 years ago. The practice of yoga is known to lower cortisol levels-cortisol being your primary stress hormone. At the same time, yoga triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest response, which helps both mind and body relax. This rest and digest response also helps you sleep better, another benefit of yoga!

Improve Flexibility and Balance

This is why most people add yoga to their fitness routine – improved flexibility and balance. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. Balancing poses help with balance, but also focus and coordination. Many professional athletes are even adding yoga to their training these days to improve their performance. 

Increase Strength

It takes a lot of strength to hold your body in some yoga poses! Strong muscles protect you from conditions like back pain and arthritis. When you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility, helping you to prevent injuries. Increasing strength may also help you improve your posture, and prevent posture-related issues like back and neck problems.

All kinds of other Health Benefits

Including (and I’m probably missing some) – improved respiration and lung health (through breathwork), balanced metabolism, weight reduction, heart health, bone health, boosts immunity, helps with high blood pressure, helps you sleep better, improves digestion, eases pain, and best of all…

Yoga makes you happier!

Studies have found that a consistent yoga practice improves depression by increasing serotonin levels (the happiness hormone), GABA levels (associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety) and decreasing levels of cortisol (stress hormone). And you’ll learn how to regulate the breath through breathwork, which is key in terms of lowering stress and bringing your mind to the present moment – both of which make you feel happier.

Ready to take your first yoga class? Read here for some tips.


how to overcome insomnia, naturally

I have dealt with sleeping issues all of my adult life. And, judging from the amount of times I’ve given advice to people on how to sleep better, a lot of you have sleep issues as well. Recently, I’ve decided to really delve into this issue and make some changes to my lifestyle to address it. I’m studying to become an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, so I thought I’d turn to Ayurveda for some ideas. This blog is a list of things I’ve tried and incorporated into my life that have really worked for me to have a solid night’s sleep. Get ready, this is a long post!

My type of insomnia looks like this: I easily fall asleep, but around 4 am I wake up, and am unable to get back to sleep even though I am so tired. I can get away with this for one or two nights, but the cumulative effect of not getting a full night’s sleep after a few days, weeks and months really starts to take its toll on my energy and overall well being. In Ayurveda, this is considered a disturbance of vata dosha. I’ll be writing more about Ayurveda and doshas in the weeks to come if your not familiar. But basically, vata dosha is related to the elements of ether and air and overall needs calming and grounding.

Ok, so here’s the list of what I do to ensure a full night’s sleep…

Daily Routine

In Ayurveda, keeping a daily routine, or dinacharya, is huge. This means getting up at the same time every day, eating at the same time, getting to bed at the same time. This way your body is conditioned to times of waking up and going to sleep every day, which will result in better sleep. Additionally, eating meals around the same time every day will help you have better digestion. This was hard for me to do at first, especially as I don’t have a regular work schedule.  In Ayurveda school, we learn that the mind loves freedom, and the body loves routine. 

Generally, you should be waking with the sun at sunrise, then getting to bed in time to get you 7-8 hours of sleep.

Light and Early Dinner

I used to eat dinner on the later side, around 7:30 to 8 pm, or even later. On nights that I would eat that late, I would always wake up the next morning feeling groggier than normal. That is because when my body was supposed to be doing detoxifying processes while I slept, it was still digesting my late meal. Now I aim to have eaten dinner by 7 pm. Also, consider making lunch is the biggest meal of your day, and eat a lighter dinner. Some light dinner ideas I enjoy are basmati rice/ quinoa with steamed or sauteed veggies, or a homemade soup.

Create a Night Time Routine

Now, I’ve always been a big believer in having a good morning routine. Until I saw an Ayurvedic practitioner, it didn’t really occur to me to have a night time routine as well. Here is what my night time routine for awesome sleep looks like:

  • No electronics 2 hours before bed – this is usually when I read a book
  • 5 minutes of nadi shodhan (alternate nostril breath) followed by 15 minutes of meditation. I use Insight Timer for meditation and practice a mantra based meditation.
  • I do a brain dump every night – I simply make a list of things I want to remember for the following day. I keep a small journal on my bed side table for this.
  • Keep your bedroom clean and tidy. Create a calming environment. Get rid of any lights in your bedroom, use black tape on top of any electronics that have a light that doesn’t turn off, like an electric toothbrush, air conditioner, etc. I got rid of my clock radio with a digital display. Obviously, no TV in the bedroom!
  • Use a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillowcase at night, or diffuse lavender oil.
  • Drink a spiced milk or a calming tea – I like good ole chamomile tea. There are a lot of herbal teas on the market now for calming or good sleep, find one you like.
  • Right before bed, rub some sesame oil on your feet. This is a great grounding practice. I have one old pair of socks that I’ll put on right after this so I don’t ruin my sheets.

Cut Out Caffeine

Now, I know this is going to bum out you coffee and tea lovers. If you are drinking coffee and tea daily and having any kind of sleep problem, you should try cutting out caffeine completely. Even that early morning cup of coffee may be affecting your sleep that night. And, if you are waking up in the morning craving the stimulation of a cup of coffee, that is a sign you didn’t get the best quality sleep. I quit drinking coffee about a year ago and I notice I actually have MORE energy in the morning without it. Here are some tips on how to quit drinking coffee if you are addicted to it (which I was!)

Calming Herbs

You can use calming herbs to support deep sleep. Lavender essential oil is great for this, I use a few drops on my pillowcase, or you can diffuse the oil in your bedroom. Chamomile tea is a good calming tea to drink before bed. Nutmeg is also a sedative herb, try making the nutmeg milk recipe below. 

Spiced Milk Recipe

1 cup almond milk (or any milk)

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cardamom

1 tsp coconut oil

Optional: honey to taste

Bring all ingredients except for honey to boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Take off heat, let cool for a minute or two before stirring in honey.


Easy Weeknight Dinner :: Ramen Noodle Bowls

I am always in search of weeknight dinners that are healthy, easy to throw together and tasty! This ramen bowl recipe is something I’ve found myself making pretty often lately with whatever vegetables I have. It’s light and fresh tasting, with a little saltiness from the miso. The base of this recipe is vegetable broth. You can use store bought, or make your own in your crock pot. Making your own is really simple, and I’ve included directions for that below.

Ramen Noodle Bowl Recipe:

Makes 1 serving

Gather:
2 cups vegetable stock
1 section of ramen noodles, cooked*
1 TBSP miso
2 cups of chopped veggies, your choice (here I used zucchini, carrots and asparagus)
Tamari sauce to taste
Drizzle of sesame oil
*I use the Lotus Foods brand of rice ramen noodles, which I get at Costco
Optional add-ins: chopped tofu, sesame seeds, fresh cilantro

Make:
Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer. Add the vegetables, and cook until veggies are tender – about 10 minutes. Using a ladle, remove 1-2 ladles-full of broth into a small bowl. Add the miso to the small bowl, and whisk until smooth. Then add the miso-broth concoction back to your soup. Add the noodles, top with tamari sauce and sesame oil, and serve!

Crock Pot Veggie Broth Recipe

Makes about 3 quarts

Gather:
1/2 bunch of celery
1 onion
4 carrots
2 bay leaves
3” piece of kombu
1 TBSP minced ginger

Make:
Chop all of the veggies, and put in the crock pot. Fill the crock pot with water, and cook on low all day – 8 hours. This long cooking process will extract all of the nutrients from the vegetables, for a mineral rich broth that is so good for you! Then strain and use! I store the broth in mason jars in the fridge. This broth will keep for about 5 days. Use the broth to cook grains, make soups and stews, or even drink on its own.

You can also save and use your veggie scraps to make a good vegetable broth. I’ve used broccoli stems, cauliflower stems and leaves, ends of carrots and asparagus, onion and carrot peels, etc.



Eat your beets :: with recipe

One root veggie I try to include in my diet is beets. Beets are full of antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium and iron. And, did you know that eating beets can help with athletic performance? Beets have a high amount of nitrates. These are different from the nitrates found in package meats, which are toxic. These good nitrates help your circulation, resulting in more oxygen being delivered into your cells, resulting in increase athletic performance! Another reason I like to include beets in my diet is that it nourishes supports the liver. Our liver is an important organ in our body that helps with our bodies detoxification processes. Try this easy, ready for instant pot, beet soup to get more beets into your diet!

Borscht (Instant Pot Recipe) with Cashew Sour Cream

Gather:
3 beets
2 russet potatoes, chopped
2 chopped carrots
2 chopped celery stalks
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 tsp dill
1/2  tsp thyme
1 tsp sea salt
Black  pepper to taste

For the cashew sour cream (optional):
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water
Apple cider vinegar to taste (I just add a splash)

Make:
Clean the beets. Put 1 inch of water at the bottom of your instant pot. Put the steamer in the instant pot, then add the beets. Set the pot to steam for 7 minutes – then let sit and release steam for another ten minutes. Let the beets slightly cool, remove the skins (should be super easy) and chop.

Rinse out the instant pot, then add all of the ingredients. Cover with about 2 inches of water. Cook in the Instant Pot on the soup setting for 45 minutes.

To make the sour cream, drain the cashews, then add to a high speed blender. Just scantily cover with water and add a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar. Blend. Adjust by adding water if you need it thinner, or maybe increasing the vinegar.

When the soup is done cooking, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl, then drizzle with the sour cream.